Thursday, November 28, 2013

white bird

i was in bed
when a buzzing curled inside my ears--
it may have been music i forgot to turn off, in the other room.
it may have been roadwork down in the dirt-turned, workboot street.
it may have been your name
spoken from my dreams by a female priest,
wearing denim and flannel,
on her day off, smoking on the steps of Saint T's.

i get so confused--
one rain drop and i'm growing green skin,
building arks,
playing midwife, saving the world.
then again,
there are days when i would barter the world away
just to be in your arms.

i grew you a song,
in a coffee can on my window sill.
that spring, each white bloom
had dove's wings and flew
across all of this blue-edged snag-hearted geography we call living.
i told them to go to you.
i gave them sweet jam messages.
i leaned out my window and screamed, hurting my throat for a week,
and then i slept until winter.

i woke in bed
with a buzzing in my ears.
solitude embraced me from both sides,
whispering a bitter catechism.
they hid your name.
they silenced all music.
they said, "you are ashes, dear,
nothing more."

that was when my bird-blooms came back.
all of them, soft and lovely and innumerable,
each of them bearing your reply--
you said,
"these came from you and to you i return them."
i finally understood, and that was when i went up,
vaporizing my weird guests but sparing the birds,
scorching out poems like some kind of vengeful torch.

my immediate world reduced to ache and feathers, 
carbon and snow,
swirling black

magic i own
magic i birth
magic i can't stop.


for Kerry's black-and-white challenge at Real Toads.



Mama Zen said...

I love every word of this.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Magnificent, Shay.

What more is there to say? Love poetry may get better than this, but I have yet to read it.

In terms of the challenge itself, I love the idea you have had to start in colour and gradually fade to black and white as the mood becomes more sorrowful.

On a professional note, I envy you your dove-winged flowers more than I'd like to admit.

hedgewitch said...

This is one of those poems that you race through, like something overwhelmingly delicious, than stop and slow down, because you are missing the true taste, the true excellence of the dish. The illustrations and song make it a seamless package of transformative longing, the desolation that is often absolute truth once we find it, and the final sips of that elixir of freedom that the clarity of a black and white resolution of things so often brings. Your metaphor(of growing your love in a coffee can, of the blooms becoming doves) is another set of matroshkas that you create for us one within the next, flawless, brightly crafted,idiosyncratic and holding so much more than just another doll. One of your very best, Shay, and that is the best there is.

Sioux said...

Every line, every bit of white space (carefully placed), is spot-on.

And as soon as I saw the title, I knew the perfect song you could pair this with and--voila!--there it was.

Have a great day today, Shay. Maybe you could take a day off of writing tomorrow so we could pull our jaws back up and prop them back into place?

TexWisGirl said...

ethereal and powerful.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

One of your best, my friend. "each white bloom had wings and flew" - and then were all returned. So painful, one aches reading the words. No one writes love and pain as you do.

Anonymous said...

"scorching out poems like some kind of vengeful torch"

oh yeah. this especially. ~

Sam Edge said...

Yup yup your poems scorch. The music tops it all off nicely.

Marian said...

this is really touching... i want to say it's basic. yeah, i'll stick with that, i guess. i truly love this poem, Shay.

Hannah said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Fireblossom. :)!

Hannah said...

Oh, also...about your poem...

I like that you start off with an auditory sensation and that you feather that same sentiment back in later in your piece.

The movement of the dove and the fantastical element of the flower transforming into said dove is magical.

This seems like it was really fun for you to write.


Loredana Donovan said...

I really like the uplifting imagery in the third stanza ... love blooming. Then the poem takes a turn. Loss changes the emotion from white to black. I could see it and feel it all, even if you hadn't used the actual words, black & white in the end.

Grandmother (Mary) said...

That final stanza is such a powerful, life-affirming incantation... I think all women should shout it out loud until we believe it.

Ella said...

Wow, I am blown many great lines. I love this:

"i grew you a song,
in a coffee can on my window sill.
that spring, each white bloom
had dove's wings and flew
across all of this blue-edged snag-hearted geography we call living."

Gorgeous Shay! I am in awe...
I hope you and yours had a lovely

Helen said...

... 'scorching out poems' ~~~ YOU.

Kay L. Davies said...

"my immediate world reduced to ache and feathers,
carbon and snow,"

So very, very black and white, Shay, pain without healing. I must admit that I, the eternal optimist, expected healing and found a vengeful torch instead. But so perfect.
Luv, K